President Barack Obama addressed the nation from the White House East Room today after the Democratic party lost the Senate in yesterday’s elections.
Obama, who has suffered low approval ratings through much of his second term, focused his speech on his desire to still get bills passed during his last two years in the White House.
“The American people sent a message.” Obama said. “They expect the people they elect to work as hard as they do. They expect us to focus on their ambitions and not ours.”
Obama was referring to the current Congress where Republicans control the House of Representatives, and the Democrats control the Senate. It has been criticized from both sides of the aisle for its inability to pass legislation and work together, especially after last year’s government shutdown.
There were a few areas where Obama felt that he would be able to work with Congress and get legislation passed.
“We all share aspirations for our young people,” Obama said. “I think we have a chance to do more on that front.”
He also focused much of the speech on minimum wage, an issue he increasingly brought up as the elections grew closer. Five states voted to increase their minimum wage in last night’s elections, most of which were Republican-leaning states. Obama used this as proof that minimum wage is an issue that he will succeed in.
When questioned about his options involving an executive order to act on immigration, Obama reiterated his plans to go forward with the order.
“I will engage any member of Congress” desiring a discussion on immigration, Obama claimed. He blamed the current gridlock on Republicans in the House and said that if they could not act he would.
Many have criticized Obama’s rumored executive order as too lenient, even blaming the election results on the rumors around the order.
“I don’t want to try to read the tea leaves on election results.” Obama responded when questioned about this idea.
Obama explained what he believed the way to getting anything done would be.
“The key is to make sure that those ideas that I have overlap somewhere with those ideas that Congress has.” Obama explained. “The one thing that I’m confident about, is that I’m going to be busy for the next two years.”